This day in history: Mandela inaugurated as first democratic President

Thursday, May 10, 2018

South Africa’s founding President Nelson Mandela was on this day, 24 years ago, inaugurated as Head of State.

Mandela took the Oath of Office as the first President of a democratic dispensation at a ceremony held at the Union Buildings. The day followed the historic 27 April 1994 elections, which saw South Africans across the colour spectrum vote for the government of their choice in a post-apartheid dispensation.

In his inauguration speech, President Mandela said a new nation had been born.

“Today, all us do, by our presence here and by our celebrations in other parts of our country and the world, confer glory and hope to newborn liberty. Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud,” he said.

He said the daily deeds of ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all hopes for a glorious life for all.

Earlier this week, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the centenary celebrations of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu briefed media on the upcoming centenary of the former statesman and struggle heroine Sisulu.

This year, Mandela, who passed away on 5 December 2013, would have celebrated his 100th birthday on 18 July. Ma Sisulu would have turned 100 on 21 October. She passed away on 2 June 2011.

Government has called on South Africans and the international community to participate in the various activities that have been put together in their honour.

At Tuesday’s briefing, the IMC announced the launch of #MandelaFridays, an initiative aimed at promoting active citizenry among South Africans to carry out activities of philanthropy, charity, education and heritage throughout the year to mark 100 years since the birth of the former statesman.

Madiba, as he was affectionately known, passed away at his Houghton home over four years ago. He served one term as President of South Africa. - SAnews.gov.za

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